The beautiful island of Bali, packed with picturesque landscapes and culture at every turn. Not to be forgotten, the warm smile from our welcoming hosts. Stroll through iconic rice fields that dot the valleys below Mt. Agung. Hike the lush jungles that surround the Ayung River. Visit the spiritual mecca of Ubud that balances the wandering mind. All of these things make Bali a perfect location from Romantics to Adventure seekers. What may be lesser known about Bali are the underwater beauties that do not require a diving license to visit. Although it may not be your first thought for vacation activities, snorkeling in Bali offers beautiful coral reefs as well as a few species of marine life unique to Bali. Let’s explore some of the best locations in Bali to snorkel.
Snorkeling in Bali from the Beach- East Coast
If you dive in Bali, you already know the treasure chest of locations to visit along the east coast. With close proximity to Mt Agung, this black sand beaches line the shore and volcanic stone lines the seabed. For underwater photographers, this contrast makes for stunning photos of the coral reefs and marine life. But you do not have to be a diver to enjoy the beauty that lies beneath the sea. With many locations less than 3 meters from the shore, not only is it easily accessible. But the bay provides steady and calm currents creating calm conditions and clear visibility. Let’s explore the east coast snorkeling in Bali options.
It may not be well known by looking on a map, but ask anyone where the USS Liberty (USAT LIBERTY) shipwreck is, and you will find Tulamben. Many tours are taking divers to this famed site, but snorkeling is quite remarkable as well. The USS Liberty was torpedoed during WWII. Towed to Tulamben and docked at the beach, it was a victim to Mt Agung’s eruption in 1963 and moved to its current location offshore by the volcano. Since then, the combination of rich volcanic sea beds and currents from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean, this shipwreck became a plankton-rich area attracting an array of sea life from stingrays to schools of damselfish and sweetlips, not to mention thriving corals.
Come see why underwater photographers flock to this site. Check out this day tour to Tulamben USAT shipwreck here
Once a sleepy collection of villages, this area has developed over the last 6 years with a selection of lodging from dive hostels and homestays to more luxurious boutique hotels. Contrasts of the rice paddy fields and Mt Agung with the black sand beach make for stunning photos on land. However, underneath, a party is waiting to happen. Divers know this area well and have been coming for years. But snorkeling is quite easy, even beginners. Lipah Bay provides a shipwreck that dates back to WWII. At a 4 meter depth, there is plenty to see from above, including, if you are lucky, the famed pygmy seahorses and sea fans in bright colors.
Pondok Vienna Beach is nearby and features both hard and soft corals. Both areas will give you plenty of colorful fish to swim with and the occasional turtle. If staying in Amed is not on the menu, a day trip is well worth the ride out there. The journey to Amed is lined with small villages and stunning breaks in the trees to see the beautiful rice paddies. To make a day trip to for snorkeling in Bali on the east coast, check out this day tour to Lipah Bay and Pondok Vienna Beach here.
Heading down the east coast, Padang Bai serves at the harbor for ferries to Gili and Lombok. It is also home to Blue Lagoon and Jepun, two areas filled with marine life. Moving further south from Mt Agung, the sand is white, which makes for stunning snorkeling. See beautiful corals mixed with the black rock create beautiful pools for angelfish, octopus, and the like. The waters are calm, making it safe for less experienced snorkelers. On the beach, take in the stunning views as the lush greenery grows through the rocks that create the lagoon. For a great afternoon of snorkeling and BBQ, check out this Blue Lagoon Snorkeling trip here. Beginner diver, blue lagoon is a great place to start. Check out this Blue Lagoon beginner’s diving experience here.
Imagine snorkeling but better. Take the beauty of diving to the depths of the sea without diving. Intrigued? Heading further down the east coast of Bali, the resort area of Sanur is next on the list. Although this area does not boast a shipwreck or massive coral gardens, the opportunity to walk on the seafloor and play with the fish does exist. Walking the seabed on this adventure is easy and safe. Take a short boat ride to the platform where you will be equipped with a soft dive system. It might look like a scene from a 70’s SciFi movie as you are equipped with a helmet that is filled with air from the surface. The weight will glide you down the steps where the underwater adventure begins. Enjoy schools of fish as they dance around. If you want to try something different, book your seawalk experience in Sanur here.
Now take the seawalk adventure a step higher, ride a scooter underwater. You may be thinking that we have gone off the deep end with these underwater adventures, but honestly, while on vacation, everything is fair game. The scooter is also a soft dive system where the air from the surface is continuously pushed into the helmet. However, with the scooter, you are not alone. Take a companion and operate the same as if you were on land minus the wheels and the traffic. Glide through the water with ease and ride with the fish. To enjoy this incredibly unique opportunity, book your underwater scooter adventure here. Want to make it a day in Nusa Dua, include a sea walk adventure and fly fishing boat ride on the surface. Book your underwater scooter, sea walk and fly fishing ride here
Snorkeling in Bali, The Island Experience
Head away from the main island of Bali for more snorkeling adventures to one of the outer islands nearby. As much as we love Bali, the smaller islands nearby offer quiet locations with secluded beaches and less traffic than Bali. Explore Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, and the Gili Islands and see what snorkeling options lie ahead. Before you head out, a transfer by boat is necessary to get to these islands from Bali or Lombok. Plan ahead and book your transfer to Nusa Lembongan and Gili Islands right here.
Nusa Lembongan is the middle of the 3 Nusa Islands about 30 minutes from Bali by speedboat. The pace is slow, and the marine life abundant with flourishing coral reefs and chances to see manta rays that play off the coast. It’s a simple life here which offers visitors the opportunity to slow down and enjoy the local atmosphere. Several markets are scattered around the island with handmade crafts for sale. Walk past the village areas that process seaweed exported worldwide. Then head for the water for some fun. In addition to manta rays, follow the usual suspects of angelfish, clownfish, and the pouting puffers.
Get a great taste of the island with a land and sea tour. Walk around the island and check out the devil’s tear then head to the sea for a combination of snorkeling and boat tour in a glass bottom boat. Check out the island with this day tour to Nusa Lembongan here. If you are spending more than a day in Nusa Lembongan, try the seawalk adventure and kayak in addition to snorkeling for an added bonus.
Nusa Penida is the larger of three islands, including Nusa Lembongan. The island offers at least three stunning landscapes that are not to be missed. Kelingking Beach is by far one attraction that draws visitors to its remote and hard to access location. The cliffs jet out into the ocean in a shape similar to a T-Rex emerging from the water, which makes for spectacular photo opportunities. Angel’s Billabong offers a natural infinity pool that when the tide is low. Finally, Broken Beach is a natural bridge that forms between two cliffs.
What makes Nusa Penida even more spectacular are the views below the sea. Given its location, the strong currents provide the bays with nutrient-rich plankton and other sea life to keep the manta rays happy as well as the coral. Go for a play date with the manta rays at none other than Manta Point. A Must See Must Snorkel is the beautiful Crystal Bay. As beautiful as it may be, strong currents do flow into the bay less than 5 meters from the shore, so it is recommended only for strong divers and swimmers. Do not fret, the water is calmer near the beach, and the sunsets are amazing so everyone can enjoy this paradise. If you can, we recommend spending the night to take advantage of all the amazing places. Opt for this 2Day 1 night Nusa Penida Adventure by booking here. If time is limited, day tours are also available. Book this one-day discovery tour here.
Snorkeling around the Gili Islands is a treat for the senses without a doubt. It makes for an excellent getaway for the day or a few days as the islands are remote and not accessible by car. Rich in marine life and flourishing corals, Gili provides you with a snorkelers paradise. Take it slow and Snorkel around the Gili Islands with this glass bottom boat tour here. Adventurists can take flight underwater with a pair of sub wings. The Gili Islands are offering new ways to snorkel. Glide through the reefs effortlessly as you literally swim like the fishes. Pulled behind a boat, dip in and out of the water, and let yourself become one with the ocean. This is an incredible opportunity for advance snorkelers to try something new. Book your sub wing adventure in the Gili Islands here.
If you are not in search of a party, we recommend staying on the west side of the island where it is a bit relaxed and quiet. Take advantage of this 3 day, 2 night family package, which includes snorkeling and a tour in a glass bottom boat around all three of the islands.
Snorkeling in Bali with the Dolphins
We all love dolphins, and if you want to see them in Bali, you must come to Lovina in North Bali. Compared to the more popular and congested areas in South Bali, Lovina is a collection of small villages that dot the black sand beaches and calm waters. The perfect getaway from your holiday. Take an early morning boat ride to find the dolphins then dive in to snorkel around the reefs. Spend some time checking out the corals and the locals that live there.
If you are heading up to see the dolphins, save a little extra time to explore the Northen Bali area as it holds many little secrets, including the Sambangan Secret Garden. Explore the gardens and their waterfalls with natural slides and cliff diving into lagoons. See coffee and clove plantations along the way. For an exciting day to Lovina, check out dolphins, snorkeling, and trekking right here.
Lombok and the South Gili Islands
Finally, we arrive at Lombok, also a part of the Gili Islands. Where Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air make of the northern part, Lombok is part of the Southern Gili Islands. Pristine white beaches line the coast and calm currents around the islands make for great visibility for your underwater adventures. Prepare to go island hopping! To visit the islands, plan for a day on the sea. The marine life is diverse and the coral reefs are healthy. Conservation efforts to rebuild the coral reefs around Gili Nanggu are improving the coral beds to ensure the coral fish are happy. While in Lombok, invest some time in getting to know the Sasak culture. The Sasak people are indigenous to the island and account for 85% of the population. If you like spice, then you will get it here. Local markets are abundant giving you ample opportunity to pick up souvenirs. For an exploration of Lombok and South Gili Islands, book this snorkeling adventure and day tour here or learn how to dive at this beginners spot here.
Snorkeling in Bali- When Should You Go
As snorkeling is a water activity, the weather plays a factor in a good day or a bad day on the sea. If you are focused on snorkeling, then it is important to come during the dry season from April to October to get the best out of your trip. However, the rainy season from November to March does not mean that rain is forecasted every day. We suggest that you check the weather before you head out and listen to the operators. It is reported that the islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida experience relatively good snorkeling conditions year-round. So pack your bags and enjoy.
For other great adventures, check out eoasia.com to book securely and begin to design your own tailored made holiday. Want to learn more about things to do in Bali, check out some of these posts.